Another benefit of sex

For decades there have been theories about the genetic advantage of sexual reproduction, but so far none had been tested in humans. Researchers at the University of Montreal and Research Center Hospital Sainte-Justine University in Montreal (Canada) have just demonstrated how bias humanity to the disease gradually decreases as we mix our genetic material.

When humans breed, generation after generation, exchange of genetic material between man and woman makes our species evolves slowly. The chromosomes of the mother and father are recombined to create your child’s chromosomes. Scientists have long known, however, that the genomes of parents do not mix evenly. Recombine more frequently in some segments of the genome, while the recombination is less frequent in others. Said segments of low recombination frequency, eventually recombine and others, to make it take many generations.

This paper is published in ‘Nature Genetics’, specifically, the team of Canadian researchers found the following: segments that human genome do not recombine with the same frequency that others tend to carry a proportion significantly more genetic mutations linked with the onset of the disease. Until finally the chromosome recombination is made, these segments accumulate more and more bad mutations. In other words, in terms of disease susceptibility, our genetic material actually worsens instead of improving. Fortunately, mutations that favor the disease are finally eliminated of our genetic code through sexual reproduction. The process can last hundreds of generations.

The relevance of this work is that it gives us a better understanding of how we, as humans, we have more or less at risk of developing or contracting diseases, tells us where to look in the human genome to find mutations that promote disease, which should accelerate the discovery and identification of mutations associated with specific diseases. Researchers believe that this new information will help develop treatments and more effective prevention programs.